Following the Great Lockdown in 2020, it is important to take stock of lessons learned. How effective have different containment measures been in slowing the spread of Covid-19? Have containment measures been costly in terms of economic growth, fiscal balances, and accumulated debt? This paper finds that countries with previous SARS experience acted fast and "smart", and were able to contain the virus by relying mainly on public health measures ─ testing, contact tracing, and public information campaigns ─ rather than stay-at-home requirements. Using past coronavirus outbreaks as an instrumental variable, we show that countries with past experience were able to contain the virus in a smart way, reducing transmission and deaths while also experiencing higher economic growth in 2020.
This paper finds empirical evidence that faster and smarter containment measures were associated with lower fiscal responses to the COVID-19 shock. We also find that initial conditions, such as fiscal space, income, health preparedness and budget transparency were important in shaping the amount and design of the COVID-19 fiscal response.
International Monetary Fund. Communications Department
This paper discusses the role of fiscal policy and demographics. By the end of this century, about two-thirds of all countries are expected to have declining populations. This will have profound implications for economics, financial markets, social stability, and geopolitics. Fiscal policy responses and technological innovation are especially important parts of the solution. Without action, public pension and health systems will not be sustainable over the long term. The increase in life expectancy and economic welfare that came with the industrial revolution brought with it the seeds of demographic change. This is a demographic double whammy that will have major implications for economic growth, financial stability, and the public purse. With declining fertility rates, populations in some advanced economies did not just grow more slowly; they stagnated or began to shrink. IMF analysis suggests that, if everyone lived three years longer than expected, pension related costs could increase by 50 percent in both advanced and emerging economies. This would heavily affect private and public sector balance sheets and could also undermine financial stability.
Implementation of Chad’s first National Poverty Reduction Strategy was undermined by persistent internal conflict, weak governance, and lack of commitment to and ownership of economic and social reforms. The focus now is on the restoration of security, the improvement of governance, the diversification of the economy, and the promotion of human development. The government has to be mindful of the risks to this strategy. Executive Directors propose that the government should shift away from past patterns and demonstrate commitment to poverty reduction and good governance.
This paper discusses key findings of the Third Review Under the Extended Credit Facility (ECF) for Burundi. In a difficult post-conflict environment, performance on the ECF-supported program was satisfactory. All quantitative performance criteria for end-September 2009 were met, and structural reforms are on track. The closing of off-budget accounts constitutes a major step toward establishment of a single treasury account. The program for 2010 seeks to consolidate economic stability and support gradual recovery of the economy. IMF staff recommends completion of the Third Review based on Burundi’s performance and the strength of the program.
This paper discusses key findings of the Second Review for Burundi under the three-year arrangement under the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF). All quantitative and structural performance criteria for March 2009 were met, and structural reforms are on track. In the near term, the authorities are determined to focus on sustaining macroeconomic stability, increasing domestic resource mobilization, promoting pro-poor growth, and implementing the power-sharing agreement to consolidate the peace process. Their commitment to the PRGF-supported program is unwavering and their end-March 2009 program performance has been impressive.
This paper presents key findings of the First Review for Burundi under the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF). Economic growth in Burundi increased to 4.5 percent in 2008, mainly because of a good coffee harvest and more donor-financed projects. The economic outlook is generally positive but subject to risks arising from the security situation and the external environment. Performance under the PRGF-supported program has been broadly satisfactory. All quantitative and structural performance criteria at end-September 2008 were met, and structural reforms are proceeding.